One of my favorite preachers is the 19th century Scottish preacher-boy, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, who ministered at St. Peter’s, Dundee. M’Cheyne once wrote:
“Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again, you will never come to the bottom of these depths. How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hid in the deep recesses of he ocean caves” (See Gracegems.org for the fragment from M’Cheyne’s sermon on Hebrews 12.2).
To me, Thanksgiving is a time to dive for the “dazzling pearls” of blessing in the “deep recesses of the ocean caves” of circumstance.
I have seen much of this here. I have seen students sacrificing careers and homes to follow Jesus to this place of preparation. I have shared in your tears of wanting to know God’s will for your lives and laughed with you over God’s good providences, and dreamed with you about how your life in God’s hand could be used to bring the grace you know to others. I have, in short, witnessed so many of you diving for “dazzling pearls” in the “ocean caves” of circumstance.
Paul told us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5.18 ESV).
This Thanksgiving is not only a national holiday, not only a day to feast on Turkey and dressing, not only a lazy day to watch the Detroit Lions play, or a day to endure that cousin you only (have to) see this time of year. It is a special time for believers in Jesus Christ to do what we are called to do: to give thanks. It is a day to dive into the “unfathomable oceans of grace” and discover the meaning of God’s grace in the sometimes-murky, unfathomable underwater caverns of life. And to give thanks. Giving thanks in those places is a sign of the Spirit at work. And when I see it in your lives, I give thanks. And I see it often.
God bless you. And Happy Thanksgiving.